You like football. You like food. So do we! So much so, in fact, that we smash the two together to bring you a Buffalo Bills-inspired recipe each week. Whether it’s a take on an opponents’ fave or some real mad scientist **** coming your way, Wingin’ It is the spot to watch. This week we’re prepping for the Indianapolis Colts!
My research tells me that the pork tenderloin sandwich is big in The Hoosier State. A deep fried slab of pork doesn’t start off heart healthy and I elected to steer hard toward that route. So heads up nutrition-wise this week. You can top it with any normal sandwich stuff so I went with bacon. It’s usually on a hamburger bun or Kaiser roll, but I went with bread fried like a grilled cheese. So yeah, I’m a bad role model this week.
Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Makes: Four sandwiches
Active Time: 45 min
Total Time: 60 min
1 lb pork tenderloin
Oil for frying (see below)
Salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste
1 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbsp hot sauce
1 sleeve of crackers (your choice, you can also use bread crumbs or similar)
Your choice of bread
Your choice of toppings/condiments
You will need: Plastic wrap, paper towels, candy/deep frying thermometer, something to smash pork
- Prepare pork: cut in quarters (see below), and butterflying (also see below). Aim for four pieces of pork that are bigger than the bread you’ll be using.
- Place butterflied pork between plastic wrap and flatten until slices are about quarter-inch thick.
- Dust pork with salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder; set aside.
- Prepare dredging stations (see below), beginning by spreading flour over a wide, shallow container.
- Whisk together eggs and hot sauce, and place in a second wide, shallow container.
- Crush crackers into crumbs and place in a third wide, shallow container.
- Place oil in a large sauté pan to about quarter-inch depth. Heat oil to a temperature between 350ºF and 375ºF.
- Dredge pork in flour, then egg/hot sauce mixture, then cracker crumbs and carefully place in heated oil.
- Cook until browned, about 5 min per side, but keep an eye on things as oil frying can be temperamental and depends highly on your equipment.
- Remove from oil, also carefully, and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. For smaller pans, finished tenderloins can be transferred to an oven on 200ºF after a few minutes on the paper towels while you fry the rest.
- Make a sandwich out of ‘em and enjoy!
Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery
The gallery will focus on the meat preparation as it’s hard to visualize a somewhat thin cylinder of pork becoming four wide and flat pieces. The first picture is me verifying that yes, I really did start with a one-pound cylindrical tube of tenderloin.
Picture two shows the cuts to make it four pieces. The first cut wasn’t quite in half as one end of the tenderloin is thicker. Once that cut is made, the next two will be right in half. Hopefully the picture is more clear than this paragraph.
Picture three shows the two fatter sections. The one I’m holding I’ve done the butterfly cut but haven’t spread it to its full width yet. The piece to the immediate right is the other half of that section after being splayed out. Note that it’s not that wide yet—you still need to smoosh it.
Most often you put it between plastic and use a mallet to tenderize and flatten it. Counting this recipe I think this would have been the second time I’ve ever tenderized meat with physical force. In other words, I don’t have a mallet. The bottom of a sturdy glass or a rolling pin is fine.
Picture four shows my dredging stations in action. The pan is to the left followed by cracker crumbs, egg/hot sauce, then flour. Off screen would be the remaining pork. This can be pretty messy so each step brings you closer to the pan.
Because I added bacon I cooked that first and used the bacon fat plus vegetable oil for frying. It adds a little flavor but increases the risk of burning. It’s why my breading is so dark.
A note on the flour dredge while you’re here. The absolute best flavor is mixing your spices in with the flour. That’ll give the breading the flavor, which usually seeps into the meat as well during the frying process. This can be VERY hard to balance though. If you’re not comfortable with that do what I suggested above.
Finally, this is arguably the LEAST spicy recipe I’ve ever done. If you’re eating the tenderloin by itself you’ll notice that there’s hot sauce in there but it’ll be subtle. If you add toppings it might be hard to tell there’s hot sauce at all. This was an intentional spin on my part as I usually tend to go with far more intense flavors. If you miss the spice, just use cayenne in the dusting stage, or drizzle with hot sauce at the end.